$100M Venture Fund To Jump-Start Mobile App Innovation formalized its investment approach in what it calls the Internet of Customers technologies with the launch of a $100 million fund.

The San Francisco-based company is looking to invest in companies creating mobile apps that can be used with its platform, Salesforce1, which shares the same name as the actual fund.

"Our goal is to grow our innovative ecosystem of partners that extends the power of the Salesforce platform and helps us deliver the next generation of technology for our joint customers," Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy John Somorjai told CRN.

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The idea behind the Internet of Customers concept is that there is a customer behind every app, device and connection, Somorjai said.

"By 2020, there will be a billion connected things," he said. "The Salesforce1 Fund was created to fuel mobile innovation and help companies stay connected to their customers across all of these devices."

Companies launching their own venture funds is nothing new.

IBM in January earmarked $100 million in venture funding for startups that use its Watson computer system in a bid to grow that portion of its business., in fact, has been investing in enterprise technology companies since 2009. The launch of the fund, earlier this week, formalizes the company's strategy and investment arm, Salesforce Ventures, which also has a new website.

The formalized fund recently made undisclosed investments in, the maker of a digital camera and app for the iPhone 4s and 5 founded by musician, and Skuid, maker of a Salesforce user interface toolkit.

San Francisco-based electronic-signature company DocuSign has been one of the longer-term investments for Salesforce, which has participated in multiple funding rounds for the company since 2010. The most recent of those was in March.

"Overall, Salesforce has just been a huge partner for us," DocuSign Chief Financial Officer Mike Dinsdale told CRN. "The money for us is now about going global. That's really where we've been focusing our efforts."

That includes pushes into Europe, Asia Pacific, India and China.

DocuSign, which has some 1,000 workers companywide, counts about 50 million users around the world.

Working with as an investor in the company offers unique perks traditional venture capital firms can't offer, primarily a direct-dial into key company executives.

"Access to executives for us is big to be able to drive into their ecosystem," Dinsdale said. "We have better access to development folks, to sales folks, to the ecosystem, in general, which is the bigger benefit of taking money from someone like Salesforce."

Salesforce Ventures also is big on synching up the companies it invests in with its philanthropic arm, Foundation.

Salesforce Ventures does not include outside investors and, according to Somorjai, it's "got a strong pipeline of mobile apps and connected products that we're evaluating as investments."

The company did not set a time line for when it expects to have invested the entire $100 million.